Today’s reports that Russia narrowly averted a nuclear disaster that rivaled Chernobyl in December 2011 rocked the disaster-watching world.
The country was moments away from releasing untold radioactive contaminants into the atmosphere as a nuclear submarine carrying 16 R-29 ICBMs — each with a 1 megaton nuclear warhead — caught fire. The craft had to be partially submerged to douse the flames that threatened not only the nukes, but also the nuclear reactor of the craft itself, not to mention the thousands of pounds of torpedoes and mines onboard.
The well-respected Russian magazine Vlast reported on the incident, saying:
Russia, for a day, was on the brink of the biggest catastrophe since the time of Chernobyl.
Had even one of those torpedoes exploded, we’d be looking at a serious nuclear accident affecting the globe. Nuclear energy, though much more threatening and accident-prone in weaponry than in civilian uses, is one of the most dangerous threats to humanity. The closely avoided devastation faced in this scenario should serve as our umpteenth strong warning: one day these nuclear chickens will come home to roost.